Hospitals to ramp down non-essential surgeries beginning April 12

·2 min read

Waterloo Region — The province announced temporary emergency orders for hospitals on Friday under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to maximize hospital ICU capacity, according to a release.

Beginning April 12, all hospitals in the province will begin ramping down all elective surgeries and non-urgent activities to conserve critical care and human resource capacity.

Other temporary emergency orders will “support the redeployment of health care professionals and other workers currently working in Ontario Health and Home and Community Care Support Services organizations to hospitals,” according to the release. Staff can also be deployed to backfill spaces left by redeployed staff.

If there is a major surge event where the demand for critical care threatens to overwhelm a hospital, the orders also provide hospitals with the “flexibility to transfer patients to alternate hospital sites in situations where a hospital’s resources are at significant and immediate risk of becoming overwhelmed,” says the release. In these cases, hospitals will not need patient or substitute decision maker permission. Once the surge event is finished, the alternate hospital site is required to make reasonable efforts to move the patient back to their original site or another site the patient or substitute decision maker agrees to.

The province expects these measures to increase the province’s intensive care unit capacity by up to 1000 patient beds.

The province predicts the number of intensive care unit patients will pass 600 within the next week.

Grand River, St. Mary’s and Cambridge Memorial hospitals have each announced they will be scaling back non-essential surgeries starting tomorrow.

According to the release, these orders came into effect April 9 and will remain valid for 14 days unless ended or extended according to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record